Disclaimer: I do not own hunger games or circle of magic. If I did, I would have added much more awesome 'Briar-ness'. Because he is EPIC! I mean, come on! You just have to hear his name. It just says it all. Because he is cool like that! :)

Chapter 2: Secrets Found

Bogg's POV:

We had gotten Peeta out. He had been in a locked room, wearing a straight jacket and struggling with it. On seeing us, he had lost it and had to be sedated. I didn't know the fit had been from excitement, happiness, or fear. I sincerely hoped that it was the first two. For Katniss's sake, and the whole rebellion.

If Peeta lost his mind during all the torture sessions, I had no idea what would happen. Would Katniss remain stable? Probably not, and that was not a good thing for our cause. Katniss was the face of the rebellion. If she disappeared from the scene prematurely, the districts would lose heart and the fight would be over. We would have lost. Without Katniss, we were nothing. And so, it was vital that Peeta be sane.

But I could let the medics worry about that later. First I had to get him and the other victors out in one piece. That would be the tricky part. I had heard the preparations going on above us.

We were underground. It was a hidden bunker under the streets of the Capitol, and I doubted that the citizens knew that they were walking above that secret facility. Honestly, I didn't know what they would do if they found out that this lay right underneath them. I doubt that they would approve of what went on down here. Even desensitized people like those walking above us had to draw the lines at cruelty. Which was probably why Snow had it built down here. To hide the horrors that their lifestyle demanded.

The pounding sounds on the roof were not from ordinary citizens though. I knew that much. Those people walked in ridiculous shoes, and never walked anywhere fast, unless it was to go to a sale. No, these were the footsteps of soldiers, soldiers readying themselves for our escape. No doubt carrying out plans to stop us. This was going to be harder than I thought.

Gale's POV:

A woman in a white coat stared up at me from where she was strapping a prisoner into the back of a small hovercraft. The thing that shocked me the most? The prisoner was a young boy, barely twelve.

He had golden coloured skin that told that he lived in a warm climate with lots of sunshine. Not that you could tell anymore. It was all cut up and smeared with blood, and urine, and dirt. His hair, cropped to an inch short, was also matted with blood and dampened with sweat. He was sweating, from pain, exhaustion, or from heat I couldn't tell. He wore a hospital gown and nothing else. It was one of the ones that was open at the back and tied together with string.

I clenched my fists together in anger. How dare they?! How could they? How could they stand hurting someone so young, so innocent? The monsters. The Monsters! Vile, ugly, cruel, superficial, monsters! They would pay! No one else would suffer. No. One. Else.

The monster must have seen the look in my eyes, because she visibly flinched and put renewed energy into tying her captive up. He was obviously sedated, because no one stayed unconscious without help through the rough way that she was handling him.

"Let him go." I growled.

I was sure that I looked utterly terrifying and feral. That was fine with me. I had blood smeared across my back, chest, and face from the fighting. I had no idea how dirty I was, and I didn't want to know. What I did know was that I must have a fearsome look on my face, and I was fine with that. I wanted the monsters to be scared, for what she and the Capitol had done to the boy. I had watched little children suffer in the Games, no more. I would save this boy, he wouldn't suffer anymore.

I cocked my gun and carefully aimed. The monster seemed to realize what I was doing, but it was if she was frozen in place. I placed my finger on the trigger and she let out a desperate, fear-filled sob. That made me pause for a minute.

Did I want to turn into a monster as well? Cause that's what would happen if I let myself go through with this. I knew that she had let herself turn into one. She made that decision when she started torturing innocent children. But I refused to go down that road. I would be the better man.

Decision made, I strode forward with purpose. She shrank back from me but didn't make a sound. I hit the back of her head with the butt of my gun and was done with it. She wouldn't die by my hands, not today.

Bogg's POV:

When we got to the rendezvous point, Gale was nowhere to be seen. Johanna lay moaning on her cot, oblivious to anything but the pain. Annie was awake, but had retreated into herself; she was rocking back and forth huddled in a ball with her hands over her ears.

"Where is he?" I said.

"Right here," Gale's voice came from around the corner.

When he came into sight, I was shocked. In his arms was a limp young boy, beaten and broken.

"What theā€¦? What is this, Gale?"

"I just- I couldn't leave him. You didn't see him!"

"So you just spontaneously decided to rescue him?! To play hero? This isn't part of our mission! We can't afford to rescue every prisoner that we come across. Our objective was the victors. We have the victors now. We have to leave NOW."

"No." His voice was gruff and muscles jumped in his jaw. I saw that his hold on the boy tightened.

"No?" My voice was incredulous, and I knew that my face mimicked my tone.

"How can we call ourselves freedom fighters, then?" Gale's voice started to rise, he was angry. "We say that we fight for the people, for the good of all, for a better future. But in the moments that matter, we turn our back on them because it's too dangerous to risk ourselves?!" He was basically spitting the words out by the end.

I was stunned. Our orders had never been questioned before, and I had never thought about the consequences of a tactical retreat before, not from that point of view.

Gale continued on his rant. "Well I won't go through with it. I've seen children suffer long enough, in the Seam and the Games. I will stand by no more. If there are innocents in danger, I refuse to sit idly on the sidelines while they are killed."

Noticing the boy that Gale was holding, I frantically tried to stop him, as his raised voice was awakening and agitating the frail figure in his arms. But he was too riled up to stop himself.

Briar's POV:

Someone was holding me. I had no idea who. I didn't dare open my eyes. I was terrified of what awaited me when I did. But it was obviously a man who had me. His arms were as thick as tree trunks, unbendable, unyielding, tough, bark-like. And his voice was deep, and anger-filled.

No doubt he planned to torture me some more. Break a couple of bones, maybe. I let out a strangled sob.

At the sound of my cry, the man's arms tensed. I braced myself for the worst, but when it didn't come, I was shocked. Where was the pain that I was used to? What kind of man didn't hurt me? They all did.

My memories of Emelan screamed that Niko and Crane and Frostpine and all the other dedicates didn't. But I disregarded them. They were in the past. That was gone. The good times were over. All there were now were bad men who dragged screams and groans from my bloody lips.

I waited for the pain, but it didn't come. So I peeked one eye open slightly to see my surroundings. A dark haired boy held me, his eyes filled with concern. He wasn't rough looking, just worn around the edges, as if he had been through trouble and had come out scathed, but still fighting.

He didn't look like one of the bad men, but you could never be sure. He had soldier men with him. The bags had had soldier men as well. They had chased us when we had appeared in the city, and they had had a- well, I didn't know what they had.

Their weapons, there were no words. They did things that were unimaginable. Warfare was different here. There was no magic, that's for sure. Their world would be different otherwise. But they had metal sticks that killed with flashes and pops and bangs, which left men lying on the street, bleating for their mothers, with the attacker at a safe distance. They killed from such distances, it dehumanized things. You could be shooting a target, for all that you saw. You didn't see the fear on their faces, the flashes of pain, and the screams were harder to hear. You didn't see the human in your victims. They were just another enemy. Faceless. Nameless. Emotionless. Dead.

"Boy, are you able to talk?" one of the soldier men asked me.

My eyes latched onto the man. He looked between the ages of Rosethorn and Niko. Maybe in his forties. But unlike Niko, who only had streaks of gray in his black hair, this man's head was covered in it. It looked as though he had been through a lot. His blue eyes had hidden depths, but they had heart in them still. They weren't like the others' eyes. They had eyes that were cold and smooth as glass and that slid over your looks, but took no time to see who you really were. This man's eyes were sympathetic and had feeling.

I latched onto them. I immediately liked this man. He seemed genuine, and tough, like he wouldn't flinch at anything and would listen to your hardships for hours. I saw Lark and Rosethorn and Niko in him. It was like a bit of home here.

"Yes," I croaked, my voice barely a whisper. I didn't trust myself not to break down if I spoke any louder.

"Do not worry about anything. We're going to get you out of here. We'll take you someplace safe. Just stay calm. Stay with us." He reassured me.

I looked at him skeptically. Even though I was desperate, I wasn't about to go about trusting just anyone. It would be awful if I got out of the boiling pot, to jump straight into the fire. Though Daja would probably like that, with her magic.

Wait. Daja. Sandry. Tris. Where were they? I couldn't leave them behind in this cesspool. This sludge of kaqs.

"My sisters." I whispered. No one seemed to hear me. The dark haired one was carrying me into their machine. I couldn't help but imagine it as the mouth of a terrible beast.

I tried again. I managed to catch the nice man's sleeve with my fingertips and tug. He immediately turned around to look at me.

"My sisters. They- they're in there. You hafta get them out. The nalizes will tear them apart. Their fragile. You have to save them. We can't leave without them." I voice was edging on desperation. I didn't know what I would do if they refused. I was in no condition to stop them. But I couldn't just leave them. We were one, and we would never ever leave each other to dangerous places to save ourselves. We were family, and family didn't just leave each other.

But the man thankfully didn't argue. "What do they look like?"

"They're all my age. Three girls, they are. One a redhead, curly hair. A chocolate skinned one, she has short, braided hair. And the last has brown hair in braids with a small nose. You can't leave them, you just can't."

The two men: one silver haired and one dark, shared a look. A decision was obviously made, 'cause the older one started barking orders at the five others with them. Those five people ran off into the labyrinth, leaving me with the two men that were obviously the leaders of the group.

It was then that I realized I was crying. I didn't realize it until then, I was so caught up in the moment. But when a drop escaped through my cracked lips into my mouth, I was shocked to find that the liquid was salty. A salty tear. I was crying. Bleatin' for my sisters. The bad men had broken me, to make me cry for them.

Before, no matter how bad it got, I never cried. It was a lesson you learned fast on the street. If you showed weakness, the other street rats would walk all over you, nickin' the things that you nicked, and such. Not to mention the wild dogs and animals that roamed over the garbage piles. And they could practically smell the fear and weakness. So you learned to hide it, to hide your emotions, to put on a tough casing. Put out thorns to hide your soft, tender inside. But now that was gone. My bark had been stripped. I was defenseless.

"Hey there," it was the dark-haired man, "how you doing over there? Don't worry, we'll find them."

I could only nod. I didn't trust him, not one bit. This could all be a trap still, a way for the bad people to get information outta me.

"My name's Gale, by the way. Do you want to tell me yours? So that I have something to call you?"

The bad men already knew my name, so it wouldn't hurt in telling.

"Briar."

Ta da! Second Chapter posted. Hope you liked it. Please R and R. It makes me so happy!